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Uncles in the hot seat in a podcast that debunks nonsensical forwards and political myths

The idea behind Uncle Please Sit is to fact-check and debunk popular opinions around pressing topics of our times

The idea behind Uncle Please Sit is to fact-check and debunk popular opinions around pressing topics of our times   | Photo Credit: id-work

Game of Thrones fans everywhere felt second-hand embarrassment for Edmure Tully when his niece, Sansa Stark, said, “Uncle, please sit,” following his miscalculated shot at claiming the Iron Throne for himself in the series finale. “We all have uncles who’ve given us these long sermons in our drawing rooms,” laughs Tushar Abhichandani, a journalist-turned-stand-up comic. He, along with another former journalist Joel Pereira, took the meme-worthy retort and made it the title of their new IVM podcast, which brings reckless WhatsApp forwarders to task.

The idea behind Uncle Please Sit is to fact-check and debunk popular opinions around pressing topics of our times. The title is a metaphor, not just for older people, but also youngsters who don’t question these opinions simply because they conform all too well with their own set of prejudices. “We’re living in a world where there’s news for every ideology,” adds Abhichandani. As for Pereira, podcasts like this aim to fix the gaping fact-to-information disconnect. “Some of it is benign, but when the disinformation is given out intentionally, it becomes dangerous,” he says.

Responsible humour

The first episode discusses the Indian middle class — the definitions around it and why you may not really be as middle class as you claim to be. According to Pereira, they will also be discussing the idea of privilege that underlines this common claim, and the consequent victimisation trump card. “We’re looking at all the myths, including a lot of conversations about taxes,” says Abhichandani.

One of the primary markers of our times is the pandemic potential of social media to bolster a movement, irrespective of its nature. Both Pereira and Abichandani are no strangers to the drill themselves, having dabbled with various satirical and comedy shows earlier. How different is this outing? “It is just two guys having a relaxed, fun conversation on the lines of what you might have at a party,” explains Pereira.

But the duo has ensured their research isn’t half as casual as the façade of their podcast. Their conversations are laced with references from trustworthy sources such as official government statistics. For instance, they refer to the Global Wealth Report 2019 published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute for their discussion on the parameters for being middle class. “If you position [yourself] from a place of fact, your explanation is credible. The opinion may vary, but the root remains unquestioned,” concludes Pereira.

Uncle Please Sit will air on March 9, on the IVM app and on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcast streaming services.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 11:13:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/uncles-in-the-hot-seat-in-a-podcast-that-debunks-nonsensical-forwards-and-political-myths/article31000820.ece

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